Indonesian President Joko Widodo announced a target of two weeks to get forest fires causing haze under control. Julie Noce reports.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo tours a burnt out peatland area on the island of Sumatra. Slash and burn fires on this island and the Indonesian part of Borneo have caused choking smoke-or haze-which has blanketed parts of Southeast Asia for weeks. Widodo has been criticised for not taking action to put out the fires sooner. But earlier this week he asked four nations for help and announced on Friday a two-week target for getting the situation under control. (SOUNDBITE) (Bahasa Indonesia) INDONESIA PRESIDENT, JOKO WIDODO SAYING: "I've already called the coordinating minister and the head of the National Disaster Management Agency and given them a target of about two weeks (to contain the fires), which could be less as our water bombing capacity is now bigger, so hopefully the situation can be resolved sooner. Part of that larger water bombing capacity is coming in form of this Malaysian Bombardier aircraft. Officials announced they were sending an amphibious aircraft that can scoop and drop water in large volumes to help douse the flames more quickly. Schools in Malaysia and Singapore have closed when the haze has been heavy and sports events have been cancelled. Recently, the skies as far north as Thailand have been clouded by the pollution. Thai media reported on Friday that a thick haze had affected operations at the Samui International Airport on the popular tourist island of Koh Samui.